Ford Duratec 3.5 V6 Engine Problems & Reliability!

Ford Duratec 3.5 V6 Engine Problems & Reliability!

August 31, 2023 0 By CarGuy

Are you interested in buying a Ford with the Duratec 35 and want to learn more about the Ford Duratec 3.5 V6 engine problems? Well, if that’s correct, you are in the right place because, in this article, there will be a lot to cover.

Doing your own research is really important when it comes to buying a used vehicle. Out there are vehicles that come in a variety of engine configurations and each of these engines performs somewhat differently. Some engines are really good while some are really prone to problems.

That’s why research is the key if you want to get yourself a good deal, and that’s why we are here to help you out.

First, we are going to learn more about the specs of the 35 Duratec and learn more about the numbers this engine is pushing. Then, we are going to cover the applications of this engine. In the second part of this article, we will focus on the Ford Duratec 3.5 V6 engine problems and reliability. So, if you want to learn more, feel free to follow along.

Ford Duratec 3.5 V6 Engine Specifications

The 3.5 Duratec is an engine that was developed by Ford in 2006. This engine belongs to the Cyclone family of engines and is placed between the smaller 3.3L and the larger 3.7L engine.

What is worth noting about this engine is that this was the first proper modern V6 that Ford introduced to the market.

The 3.5 Duratec engine is an engine from which the 3.5 EcoBoost was created later on. The EcoBoost as its name implies is a turbocharged version of the Duratec 35. You can check our other article on the 3.5 EcoBoost problems.

So, even though the 3.5 Duratec is no longer used, its closest relative, the 3.5L EcoBoost is.

Now let’s share the specs of the Ford Duratec 3.5 V6 engine.

  • Engine Configuration: V6
  • Displacement: 3.5L
  • Bore Size: 92.5 mm
  • Piston Stroke: 86.7 mm
  • Block & Head Material: Aluminum
  • Head Design: DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder
  • Variable Valve Timing: Yes
  • Turbocharger: No
  • Fuel Injection: Port Injection
  • Aspiration: Naturally Aspirated
  • Engine Drive: Timing Chain
  • Horsepower: 262 – 290 hp
  • Torque: 248 – 255 lb-ft

Ford Duratec 3.5 V6 Engine Applications

Now let’s discuss the applications of this engine. In other words, which models have this engine?

  • 2007 – 2018 Ford Edge
  • 2008 – 2019 Ford Taurus
  • 2010 – 2012 Ford Fusion
  • 2013 – 2019 Ford Flex
  • 2013 – 2019 Ford PPV
  • 2015 – 2017 Ford F-150
  • 2011 – 2019 Ford Explorer
  • 2007 – 2012 Lincoln MKX
  • 2007 – 2012 Lincoln MKZ
  • 2007 – 2016 Mazda CX-9

Common Ford Duratec 3.5 V6 Engine Problems

Now let’s list the most common problems with the Duratec 35.

  • Water Pump Failure
  • Milkshake (Coolant Mixes With Oil)
  • Overheating Problems
  • Timing Chain Rattle
  • Radiator Fan Failure

We listed the most common Ford Duratec 3.5 V6 engine problems and learned what these issues are. Now it is time to further elaborate on these issues in detail. Why do we think that this is necessary?

Well, this is necessary in order for you to gain a good perspective on these problems. How serious they are, the symptoms they make, and how hard it is to fix them. So, let’s further elaborate on them in detail and see what troubles the 3.5 Duratec engine.

1. Water Pump Failure

The most notorious problem with the Duratec 35 is definitely the water pump failure. The water pump is very prone to fail and causes many problems with the engine.

For those who don’t know, the water pump is a special component that circulates coolant around the engine.

In this engine specifically, the water pump is mounted on the valley of the engine. In other words, in the V. And this pump is driven by the timing chain. Another very bad idea.

So, what happens is that this water pump fails and causes a ton of issues. Like overheating, which is the most serious problem with this pump.

Whenever the pump is not working well, the engine temperatures will rise and will overheat the engine in the process.

The solution to this problem is to replace the water pump. And this replacement can be very expensive because the timing cover has to come off.

This will require the same approach as the case when you replace your timing chain since this pump is timing chain driven. So, you get the idea why this is a big issue. It can cost you thousands of dollars to get the problem sorted out.

Now let’s move on to the next Ford Duratec 3.5 V6 engine problems.

2. Milkshake (Coolant Mixes With Oil)

The second problem is very closely connected to the previous one that we covered. Whenever this water pump that is mounted in the middle of the engine fails, it starts to lose coolant.

This coolant loss will result in the coolant ending up mixing with the engine oil. This situation is known as oil dilution.

Oil can be diluted in two ways. Either with gas or with coolant. So, both these situations are bad.

But in this case, the oil is diluted with the coolant and this ruins the properties of the engine oil. This oil no longer lubricates the bearings and will cause increased engine wear.

If this problem is not detected on time, the end result will be a completely seized engine. The only way around this problem would be to throw this engine in the junkyard.

A symptom that you will notice when this problem happens is the milkshake substance that the engine oil will become.

So, if you pull out the dipstick and check the condition, you will see a brownish fluid that is thick in consistency and does not look like engine oil.

Whenever you find this problem, it is important to act quickly and solve the issue because if not detected on time, it will total out your engine completely.

Now let’s continue with the next Ford Duratec 3.5 V6 engine problems.

3. Overheating Problems

Whenever this water pump fails, it can also lead to overheating issues. Since the water pump is not working at 100%.

And your engine needs 100% in order to function properly and cool off. So, if you notice that the temperatures are rather high and abnormal, the water pump is one of the first things that you want to check.

This way, you will be somewhat sure whether the water pump is bad or not. Usually, a bad water pump produces strange noises and also allows coolant to mix with the engine oil. Resulting in a milkshake substance that will be created.

So, make sure that you read the symptoms properly and solve the problem on time before the problem totals out your engine.

4. Timing Chain Rattle

Timing chain rattle is also a common thing in these 3.5 Duratec engines. So, what is timing chain rattle, and why does it happens?

Well, this is the case when the timing chain starts to develop rattling noises. In other words, the chain is loose and has slack.

This situation will cause the engine to jump and then you have serious engine damage because the valves and pistons will collide with each other.

Also, the timing chain can start to rattle over long use. So, when the engine gets above 100,000 miles, you will start to experience rattling noises.

This means that the timing chain has to be replaced in order for you to avoid a problem when the chain jumps and causes damage.

It is also a good idea to replace the water pump whenever you are doing this type of maintenance in your car.

Now let’s move on to the next Ford Duratec 3.5 V6 engine problems.

5. Radiator Fan Failure

Another very common problem with the Duratec 35 engine is radiator failure. The radiators on these engines tend not to last for a very long time.

They fail and stop working, whenever this happens, the engine will start to overheat. So, it is important to detect this problem on time and if the temperatures are rising, make sure that the fan kicks in whenever there is a need.

If it doesn’t kick in, this means that the fan has to be replaced with a new one. Luckily, a new fan is not as expensive as the water pump service.

Ford Duratec 3.5 V6 Engine Reliability

The Duratec 3.5 V6 engine is a pretty reliable engine. But it has one main weakness. And that is the water pump.

This water pump is notorious for failing and developing issues like milkshake sludge in the engine oil and also overheating issues.

If not detected on time, the engine will simply destroy itself bit by bit. And replacing this water pump is expensive because the timing chain is driving this pump.

So, the whole timing cover has to come off and this requires a lot of hours of labor. This can result in a very expensive repair procedure.

That’s why we can only recommend this engine if the water pump was recently replaced and the engine was serviced. Since if you get one, you just never know when the problem will start to appear.


In this article, we covered the 3.5 Duratec engine. First, we learned more about the specs, as well as the applications of this engine.

In the second part, we covered the Ford Duratec 3.5 V6 engine problems and reliability. We learned whether this engine is a good purchase or not.


What Are The Common Ford Duratec 3.5 V6 Engine Problems?

The most common problem with this engine is the water pump failure. This water pump can fail and cause many other problems. Such as overheating, oil mixing with coolant, and engine failure. This is the main thing that ruins the reliability of this specific engine. Besides this, there are no major issues.

Is The Duratec 35 Engine Reliable?

This engine is pretty reliable but it has one problem that breaks its reliability. And this is the water pump failure. Water pumps tend to fail and are very expensive to replace. So, watch out when it comes to this issue.